Book - Hooked: how to build habit-forming products

  • Metadata:
    • author: Nir Eyal, Ryan Hoover
    • title: Hooked: how to build habit-forming products
  • Unprocessed highlights and reading notes (turn them into separate notes when revisiting the topic):
  • Cognitive psychologists define habits as “automatic behaviors triggered by situational cues”: things we do with little or no conscious thought.5 The
  • Ref
  • Companies increasingly find that their economic value is a function of the strength of the habits they create. In order to win the loyalty of their users and create a product that’s regularly used, companies must learn not only what compels users to click but also what makes them tick.
  • Companies that form strong user habits enjoy several benefits to their bottom line. These companies attach their product to internal triggers. As a result, users show up without any external prompting. Instead of relying on expensive marketing, habit-forming companies link their services to the users’ daily routines and emotions.
  • Notes: 1) Ref
  • The first-to-mind solution wins.
  • Today, small start-up teams can profoundly change behavior by guiding users through a series of experiences I call hooks. The more often users run through these hooks, the more likely they are to form habits.
    1. Trigger A trigger is the actuator of behavior—the spark plug in the engine. Triggers come in two types: external and internal.8
  • Notes: 1) Ref
  • Habit-forming products start by alerting users with external triggers like an e-mail, a Web site link, or the app icon on a phone.
  • By cycling through successive hooks, users begin to form associations with internal triggers, which attach to existing behaviors and emotions. When users start to automatically cue their next behavior, the new habit becomes part of their everyday routine.
    1. Action Following the trigger comes the action: the behavior done in anticipation of a reward.
  • Companies leverage two basic pulleys of human behavior to increase the likelihood of an action occurring: the ease of performing an action and the psychological motivation to do it.10
  • Notes: 1) Ref
  • Companies leverage two basic pulleys of human behavior to increase the likelihood of an action occurring: the ease of performing an action and the psychological motivation to do it.10 Once Barbra completes the simple action of clicking on the photo, she is dazzled by what she sees next.
    1. Variable Reward What distinguishes the Hook Model from a plain vanilla feedback loop is the Hook’s ability to create a craving. Feedback loops are all around us, but predictable ones don’t create desire.
    1. Investment The last phase of the Hook Model is where the user does a bit of work. The investment phase increases the odds that the user will make another pass through the Hook cycle in the future. The investment occurs when the user puts something into the product of service such as time, data, effort, social capital, or money.
  • “If it can’t be used for evil, it’s not a superpower.”
  • When harnessed correctly, technology can enhance lives through healthful behaviors that improve our relationships, make us smarter, and increase productivity.
  • The Hook Model has four phases: trigger, action, variable reward, and investment.
  • Like nail biting, many of our daily decisions are made simply because that was the way we have found resolution in the past. The brain automatically deduces that if the decision was a good one yesterday, then it is a safe bet again today and the action becomes a routine.
  • Habit-forming products change user behavior and create unprompted user engagement. The aim is to influence customers to use your product on their own, again and again, without relying on overt calls to action such as ads or promotions.
  • User habits increase how long and how frequently customers use a product, resulting in higher CLTV.
  • Renowned investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett once said, “You can determine the strength of a business over time by the amount of agony they go through in raising prices.”
  • Renowned investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett once said, “You can determine the strength of a business over time by the amount of agony they go through in raising prices.”4 Buffett and his partner, Charlie Munger, realized that as customers form routines around a product, they come to depend upon it and become less sensitive to price. The duo have pointed to consumer psychology as the rationale behind their famed investments in companies like See’s Candies and Coca-Cola.5 Buffett and Munger understand that habits give companies greater flexibility to increase prices. For example, in the free-to-play video game business, it is standard practice for game developers to delay asking users to pay money until they have played consistently and habitually. Once the compulsion to play is in place and the desire to progress in the game increases, converting users into paying customers is much easier. The real money lies in selling virtual items, extra lives, and special powers. As of December 2013, more than 500 million people have downloaded Candy Crush Saga, a game played mostly on mobile devices. The game’s “freemium” model converts some of those users into paying customers, netting the game’s maker nearly $1 million per day.6 This pattern also applies to other services. For example, take Evernote, the popular note-taking and archiving software: It is free to use but the company offers upgraded features, such as offline viewing and collaboration tools, for a price—which many devoted users are happy to pay. Evernote’s CEO Phil Libin shared some revealing insights about how the company turns nonpaying users into revenue-generating ones.7 In 2011 Libin published a chart now known as the “smile graph.”
  • In 2011 Libin published a chart now known as the “smile graph.” With the percentage of sign-ups represented on the y-axis and time spent on the service on the x-axis, the chart showed that, although usage plummeted at first, it rocketed upward as people formed a habit of using the service. The resulting down-and-up curve gave the chart its emblematic smile shape (and Evernote’s CEO a matching grin).
  • Notes: 1) Look this up
  • In addition, as usage increased over time, so did customers’ willingness to pay. Libin noted that after the first month, only 0.5 percent of users paid for the service; however, this rate gradually increased. By month thirty-three, 11 percent of users had started paying.
  • In addition, as usage increased over time, so did customers’ willingness to pay. Libin noted that after the first month, only 0.5 percent of users paid for the service; however, this rate gradually increased. By month thirty-three, 11 percent of users had started paying. At month forty-two, a remarkable 26 percent of customers were paying for something they had previously used for free.8
  • Users who continuously find value in a product are more likely to tell their friends about it.
  • Viral Cycle Time is the amount of time it takes a user to invite another user, and it can have a massive impact. “For example, after 20 days with a cycle time of two days, you will have 20,470 users,” Skok writes.
  • Viral Cycle Time is the amount of time it takes a user to invite another user, and it can have a massive impact. “For example, after 20 days with a cycle time of two days, you will have 20,470 users,” Skok writes. “But if you halved that cycle time to one day, you would have over 20 million users! It is logical that it would be better to have more cycles occur, but it is less obvious just how much better.”
  • A classic paper by John Gourville, a professor of marketing at Harvard Business School, stipulates that “many innovations fail because consumers irrationally overvalue the old while companies irrationally overvalue the new.”
  • Notes: 1) Ref
  • Though patented in 1932, the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard was written off. QWERTY survives due to the high costs of changing user behavior.
  • Switching to a new e-mail service, social network, or photo-sharing app becomes more difficult the more people use them. The nontransferable value created and stored inside these services discourages users from leaving.
  • For one, new behaviors have a short half-life, as our minds tend to revert to our old ways of thinking and doing. Experiments show that lab animals habituated to new behaviors tend to regress to their first learned behaviors over time.12 To borrow a term from accounting, behaviors are LIFO—“last in, first out.” In other words, the habits you’ve most recently acquired are also the ones most likely to go soonest.
  • The enemy of forming new habits is past behaviors, and research suggests that old habits die hard. Even when we change our routines, neural pathways remain etched in our brains, ready to be reactivated when we lose focus.15 This presents an especially difficult challenge for product designers trying to create new lines or businesses based on forming new habits.
  • Sometimes a behavior does not occur as frequently as flossing or Googling, but it still becomes a habit. For an infrequent action to become a habit, the user must perceive a high degree of utility, either from gaining pleasure or avoiding pain.
  • The tactic is backed by a 2003 study, which demonstrated that consumers’ preference for an online retailer increases when they are offered competitive price information.20
  • Notes: 1) Ref
  • A company can begin to determine its product’s habit-forming potential by plotting two factors: frequency (how often the behavior occurs) and perceived utility (how useful and rewarding the behavior is in the user’s mind over alternative solutions).
  • Some behaviors never become habits because they do not occur frequently enough. No matter how much utility is involved, infrequent behaviors remain conscious actions and never create the automatic response that is characteristic of habits.
  • Some behaviors never become habits because they do not occur frequently enough. No matter how much utility is involved, infrequent behaviors remain conscious actions and never create the automatic response that is characteristic of habits. On the other axis, however, even a behavior that provides minimal perceived benefit can become a habit simply because it occurs frequently.
  • “Are you building a vitamin or painkiller?” is a common, almost clichéd question many investors ask founders eager to cash their first venture capital check. The correct answer, from the perspective of most investors, is the latter: a painkiller.
  • But we don’t really care, do we? Efficacy is not why we take vitamins. Taking a vitamin is a “check it off your list” behavior we measure in terms of psychological, rather than physical, relief.
  • But like so many innovations, we did not know we needed them until they became part of our everyday lives. Before making up your mind on the vitamin versus painkiller debate for some of the world’s most successful tech companies, consider this idea: A habit is when not doing an action causes a bit of pain.
  • My answer to the vitamin versus painkiller question: Habit-forming technologies are both. These services seem at first to be offering nice-to-have vitamins, but once the habit is established, they provide an ongoing pain remedy.
  • Habits cannot form outside the Habit Zone, where the behavior occurs with enough frequency and perceived utility.
  • Habit-forming products alleviate users’ pain by relieving a pronounced itch.
    • DO THIS NOW   If you are building a habit-forming product, write down the answers to these questions: What habits does your business model require? What problem are users turning to your product to solve? How do users currently solve that problem and why does it need a solution? How frequently do you expect users to engage with your product? What user behavior do you want to make into a habit?
  • Notes: 1) Todo
  • External triggers are embedded with information, which tells the user what to do next.
  • An external trigger communicates the next action the user should take. Often, the desired action is made
  • More choices require the user to evaluate multiple options. Too many choices or irrelevant options can cause hesitation, confusion, or worse—abandonment.4 Reducing the
  • Notes: 1) Ref , is this the jam study
  • Companies can utilize four types of external triggers to move users to complete desired actions:
    1. Paid Triggers Advertising, search engine marketing, and other paid channels are commonly used to get users’ attention and prompt them to act.
  • Notes: 1) Used to acquire new users
    1. Earned Triggers Earned triggers are free in that they cannot be bought directly, but they often require investment in the form of time spent on public and media relations.
  • Relationship Triggers One person telling others about a product or service can be a highly effective external trigger for action.
    1. Owned Triggers Owned triggers consume a piece of real estate in the user’s environment. They consistently show up in daily life and it is ultimately up to the user to opt in to allowing these triggers to appear. For example, an app icon on the user’s phone screen, an e-mail newsletter to which the user subscribes, or an app update notification only appears if the user wants it there.
  • While paid, earned, and relationship triggers drive new user acquisition, owned triggers prompt repeat engagement until a habit is formed.
  • Yet external triggers are only the first step. The ultimate goal of all external triggers is to propel users into and through the Hook Model so that, after successive cycles, they do not need further prompting from external triggers.
  • Internal triggers manifest automatically in your mind. Connecting internal triggers with a product is the brass ring of consumer technology.
  • internal trigger. Through repeated conditioning,
  • Emotions, particularly negative ones, are powerful internal triggers and greatly influence our daily routines. Feelings of boredom, loneliness, frustration, confusion, and indecisiveness often instigate a slight pain or irritation and prompt an almost instantaneous and often mindless action to quell the negative sensation.
  • The severity of the discomfort may be relatively minor—perhaps her fear is below the perceptibility of consciousness—but that’s exactly the point. Our life is filled with tiny stressors and we’re usually unaware of our habitual reactions to these nagging issues.
  • Users who find a product that alleviates their pain will form strong, positive associations with the product over time.
  • “We identified several features of Internet usage that correlated with depression,” wrote Sriram Chellappan, one of the study’s authors.
  • Notes: 1) Ref, INsanely important
  • E-mail, perhaps the mother of all habit-forming technology, is a go-to solution for many of our daily agitations, from validating our importance (or even our existence) by checking to see if someone needs us, to providing an escape from life’s more mundane moments.
  • The ultimate goal of a habit-forming product is to solve the user’s pain by creating an association so that the user identifies the company’s product or service as the source of relief.
  • The best place to start is to learn the drivers behind successful habit-forming products—not to copy them, but to understand how they solve users’ problems. Doing so will give you practice in diving deeper into the mind of the consumer and alert you to common human needs and desires.
  • what they want.”8 Williams continued, “We often think the Internet enables you to do new things . . . But people just want to do the same things they’ve always done.”
  • “We often think the Internet enables you to do new things . . . But people just want to do the same things they’ve always done.”
  • Notes: 1) Ref
  • What would your users want to achieve by using your solution? Where and when will they use it? What emotions influence their use and will trigger them to action?
  • One method is to try asking the question “Why?” as many times as it takes to get to an emotion. Usually, this will happen by the fifth why.
  • Taiichi Ohno as the “5 Whys Method.” Ohno wrote that it was “the basis of Toyota’s scientific approach . . . by repeating ‘why?’ five times, the nature of the problem as well as its solution becomes clear.”
  • Notes: 1) Ref
  • people from triggers to actions is critical in establishing new routines.   REMEMBER & SHARE   Triggers
  • External triggers tell the user what to do next by placing information within the user’s environment. Internal triggers tell the user what to do next through associations stored in the user’s memory.
    • DO THIS NOW   Refer to the answers you came up with in the last “Do This Now” section to complete the following exercises: Who is your product’s user?
    • DO THIS NOW   Refer to the answers you came up with in the last “Do This Now” section to complete the following exercises: Who is your product’s user? What is the user doing right before your intended habit? Come up with three internal triggers that could cue your user to action. Refer to the 5 Whys Method described in this chapter. Which internal trigger does your user experience most frequently? Finish this brief narrative using the most frequent internal trigger and the habit you are designing: “Every time the user (internal trigger), he/she (first action of intended habit).” Refer back to the question about what the user is doing right before the first action of the habit.
    • DO THIS NOW   Refer to the answers you came up with in the last “Do This Now” section to complete the following exercises: Who is your product’s user? What is the user doing right before your intended habit? Come up with three internal triggers that could cue your user to action. Refer to the 5 Whys Method described in this chapter. Which internal trigger does your user experience most frequently? Finish this brief narrative using the most frequent internal trigger and the habit you are designing: “Every time the user (internal trigger), he/she (first action of intended habit).” Refer back to the question about what the user is doing right before the first action of the habit. What might be places and times to send an external trigger? How can you couple an external trigger as closely as possible to when the user’s internal trigger fires? Think of at least three conventional ways to trigger your user with current technology (e-mails, notifications, text messages, etc.). Then stretch yourself to come up with at least three crazy or currently impossible ideas for ways to trigger your user (wearable computers, biometric sensors, carrier pigeons, etc.). You could find that your crazy ideas spur some new approaches that may not be so nutty after all. In a few years new technologies will create all sorts of currently unimaginable triggering opportunities.
    • DO THIS NOW   Refer to the answers you came up with in the last “Do This Now” section to complete the following exercises: Who is your product’s user? What is the user doing right before your intended habit? Come up with three internal triggers that could cue your user to action. Refer to the 5 Whys Method described in this chapter. Which internal trigger does your user experience most frequently? Finish this brief narrative using the most frequent internal trigger and the habit you are designing: “Every time the user (internal trigger), he/she (first action of intended habit).” Refer back to the question about what the user is doing right before the first action of the habit. What might be places and times to send an external trigger? How can you couple an external trigger as closely as possible to when the user’s internal trigger fires? Think of at least three conventional ways to trigger your user with current technology (e-mails, notifications, text messages, etc.). Then stretch yourself to come up with at least three crazy or currently impossible ideas for ways to trigger your user (wearable computers, biometric sensors, carrier pigeons, etc.). You could find that your crazy ideas spur some new approaches that may not be so nutty after all. In a few years new technologies will create all sorts of currently unimaginable triggering opportunities.
  • To initiate action, doing must be easier than thinking.
  • To initiate action, doing must be easier than thinking. Remember, a habit is a behavior done with little or no conscious thought. The more effort—either physical or mental—required to perform the desired action, the less likely it is to occur.
  • Fogg posits that there are three ingredients required to initiate any and all behaviors: (1) the user must have sufficient motivation; (2) the user must have the ability to complete the desired action; and (3) a trigger must be present to activate the behavior.
  • Fogg states that all humans are motivated to seek pleasure and avoid pain; to seek hope and avoid fear; and finally, to seek social acceptance and avoid rejection.
  • While internal triggers are the frequent, everyday itch experienced by users, the right motivators create action by offering the promise of desirable outcomes (i.e., a satisfying scratch).
  • Consequently, any technology or product that significantly reduces the steps to complete a task will enjoy high adoption rates by the people it assists.
  • Fogg describes six “elements of simplicity”—the factors that influence a task’s difficulty.6 These are: Time—how long it takes to complete an action. Money—the fiscal cost of taking an action. Physical effort—the amount of labor involved in taking the action. Brain cycles—the level of mental effort and focus required to take an action.
  • Fogg describes six “elements of simplicity”—the factors that influence a task’s difficulty.6 These are: Time—how long it takes to complete an action. Money—the fiscal cost of taking an action. Physical effort—the amount of labor involved in taking the action. Brain cycles—the level of mental effort and focus required to take an action. Social deviance—how accepted the behavior is by others. Non-routine—according to Fogg, “How much the action matches or disrupts existing routines.”
  • In other words: Identify what the user is missing. What is making it difficult for the user to accomplish the desired action?
  • These factors will differ by person and context; therefore, designers should ask, “What is the thing that is missing that would allow my users to proceed to the next step?”
  • Logging In with Facebook
  • But which should you invest in first, motivation or ability? Where is your time and money better spent? The answer is always to start with ability. Naturally, all three parts of B = MAT must be present for a singular user action to occur; without a clear trigger and sufficient motivation there will be no behavior. However, for companies building technology solutions, the greatest return on investment generally comes from increasing a product’s ease of use.
  • The appearance of scarcity affected their perception of value.
  • The framing heuristic not only influences our behaviors; it literally changes how our brain perceives pleasure. For example, a 2007 study attempted to measure if price had any influence on the taste of wine.10
  • Notes: 1) Ref the wine study
  • People often anchor to one piece of information when making a decision.
  • Notes: 1) Look up a scientific source for that
  • What would happen if retailers handed customers punch cards with punches already given? Would people be more likely to take action if they had already made some progress? An experiment sought to answer this very question.11 Two groups of customers were given punch cards awarding a free car wash once the cards were fully punched. One group was given a blank punch card with eight squares; the other was given a punch card with ten squares that came with two free punches.
  • Notes: 1) Ref
  • customers—those that were given two free punches—had a staggering 82 percent higher completion rate.
  • The study demonstrates the endowed progress effect, a phenomenon that increases motivation as people believe they are nearing a goal.
  • On LinkedIn every user starts with some semblance of progress (figure 19). The next step is to “Improve Your Profile Strength”
  • Notes: 1) Consider this when building in networking options
  • Stephen Anderson, author of Seductive Interaction Design, created a tool called Mental Notes to help designers build better products through heuristics.13
  • Notes: 1) Ref and read the book
    • DO THIS NOW   Refer to the answers you came up with in the last “Do This Now” section to complete the following exercises: Walk through the path your users would take to use your product or service, beginning from the time they feel their internal trigger to the point where they receive their expected outcome.
    • DO THIS NOW   Refer to the answers you came up with in the last “Do This Now” section to complete the following exercises: Walk through the path your users would take to use your product or service, beginning from the time they feel their internal trigger to the point where they receive their expected outcome. How many steps does it take before users obtain the reward they came for? How does this process compare with the simplicity of some of the examples described in this chapter? How does it compare with competing products and services? Which resources are limiting your users’ ability to accomplish the tasks that will become habits? Time Brain cycles (too confusing)
    • DO THIS NOW   Refer to the answers you came up with in the last “Do This Now” section to complete the following exercises: Walk through the path your users would take to use your product or service, beginning from the time they feel their internal trigger to the point where they receive their expected outcome. How many steps does it take before users obtain the reward they came for? How does this process compare with the simplicity of some of the examples described in this chapter? How does it compare with competing products and services? Which resources are limiting your users’ ability to accomplish the tasks that will become habits? Time Brain cycles (too confusing) Money Social deviance (outside the norm) Physical effort Non-routine (too new) Brainstorm three testable ways to make intended tasks easier to complete.
    • DO THIS NOW   Refer to the answers you came up with in the last “Do This Now” section to complete the following exercises: Walk through the path your users would take to use your product or service, beginning from the time they feel their internal trigger to the point where they receive their expected outcome. How many steps does it take before users obtain the reward they came for? How does this process compare with the simplicity of some of the examples described in this chapter? How does it compare with competing products and services? Which resources are limiting your users’ ability to accomplish the tasks that will become habits? Time Brain cycles (too confusing) Money Social deviance (outside the norm) Physical effort Non-routine (too new) Brainstorm three testable ways to make intended tasks easier to complete. Consider how you might apply heuristics to make habit-forming actions more likely.
  • Olds and Milner demonstrated that the lab mice would forgo food, water, and even run across a painful electrified grid for the opportunity to continue pressing the lever that administered the shocks.
  • Notes: 1) Maybe look up this study
  • Stanford professor Brian Knutson conducted a study exploring blood flow in the brains of people wagering while inside an fMRI machine.2 The
  • Notes: 1) The anticipation gives the reward, look up the ref
  • Researchers believe laughter may in fact be a release valve when we experience the discomfort and excitement of uncertainty, but without fear of harm.3
  • Notes: 1) Ref
  • Adding variability increased the frequency of the pigeons’ completing the intended action.
  • Notes: 1) Check skinner study
  • More recent experiments reveal that variability increases activity in the nucleus accumbens and spikes levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, driving our hungry search for rewards.6 Researchers
  • Notes: 1) Also check this paper combined with the skinner one
  • I propose that variable rewards come in three types: the tribe, the hunt, and the self (figure 20).
  • Our brains are adapted to seek rewards that make us feel accepted, attractive, important, and included.
  • Notes: 1) Tribe
  • Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and several other sites collectively provide over a billion people with powerful social rewards on a variable schedule.
  • Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and several other sites collectively provide over a billion people with powerful social rewards on a variable schedule. With every post, tweet, or pin, users anticipate social validation.
  • The uncertainty of what users will find each time they visit the site creates the intrigue needed to pull them back again.
  • Stack Overflow works because, like all of us, software engineers find satisfaction in contributing to a community they care about.
  • The need to acquire physical objects, such as food and other supplies that aid our survival, is part of our brain’s operating system.
  • pursuit of resources and information
  • Slot machines provide a classic example of variable rewards of the hunt.
  • To keep hunting for more information, all that is needed is a flick of the finger or scroll of a mouse. Users scroll and scroll and scroll to search for variable rewards in the form of relevant tweets
  • Images often appear out of view below the browser fold. However, these images offer a glimpse of what’s ahead, even if just barely visible.
  • Images often appear out of view below the browser fold. However, these images offer a glimpse of what’s ahead, even if just barely visible. To relieve their curiosity, all users have to do is scroll to reveal the full picture (figure 24). As more images load on the page, the endless search for variable rewards of the hunt continues.
  • Notes: 1) Ig does the same
  • Pursuing a task to completion can influence people to continue all sorts of behaviors.18
  • Notes: 1) Ref
  • Video Games
  • For many, the number of unread messages represents a sort of goal to be completed.
  • Codecademy’s symbols of progression and instantaneous variable feedback tap into rewards of the self, turning a difficult path into an engaging challenge (figure 27).
  • Notes: 1) This is something I could easily steal for my app
  • Only by understanding what truly matters to users can a company correctly match the right variable reward to their intended behavior.
  • Points, badges, and leaderboards can prove effective, but only if they scratch the user’s itch. When there is a mismatch between the customer’s problem and the company’s assumed solution, no amount of gamification will help spur engagement.
  • Notes: 1) Ref, this could be gold
  • The turn of phrase has not only proven to increase how much bus fare people give, but has also been effective in boosting charitable donations and participation in voluntary surveys. In fact, a recent meta-analysis of forty-two studies involving over twenty-two thousand participants concluded that these few words, placed at the end of a request, are a highly effective way to gain compliance, doubling
  • Companies that successfully change behaviors present users with an implicit choice between their old way of doing things and a new, more convenient way to fulfill existing needs.
  • Notes: 1) Freedom good
    • DO THIS NOW   Refer to the answers you came up with in the last “Do This Now” section to complete the following exercises: Speak with five of your customers in an open-ended interview to identify what they find enjoyable or encouraging about using your product. Are there any moments of delight or surprise? Is there anything they find particularly satisfying about using the product? Review the steps your customer takes to use your product or service habitually. What outcome (reward) alleviates the user’s pain? Is the reward fulfilling, yet leaves the user wanting more? Brainstorm three ways your product might heighten users’ search for variable rewards using: 1. rewards of the tribe—gratification from others. 2. rewards of the hunt—material goods, money, or information. 3. rewards of the self—mastery, completion, competency, or consistency.
  • The more users invest time and effort into a product or service, the more they value it. In fact, there is ample evidence to suggest that our labor leads to love.
  • We Seek to Be Consistent with Our Past Behaviors
  • The more effort we put into something, the more likely we are to value it; we are more likely to be consistent with our past behaviors; and finally, we change our preferences to avoid cognitive dissonance.
  • ‘This must be worthwhile. Why? Because I’ve spent time on it!’
  • The last step of the Hook Model is the investment phase, the point at which users are asked to do a bit of work.
  • The last step of the Hook Model is the investment phase, the point at which users are asked to do a bit of work. Here, users are prompted to put something of value into the system, which increases the likelihood of their using the product and of successive passes through the Hook cycle.
  • In the investment phase, however, asking users to do a bit of work comes after users have received variable rewards, not before. The timing of asking for user investment is critically important. By asking for the investment after the reward, the company has an opportunity to leverage a central trait of human behavior.
  • The stored value users put into the product increases the likelihood they will use it again in the future and comes in a variety of forms.
  • Content Every time users of Apple’s iTunes add a song to their collection, they are strengthening ties to the service.
  • Data Information generated, collected, or created by users (e.g., songs, photos, or news clippings) are examples of stored value in the form of content.
  • “If we could get users to enter just a little information, they were much more likely to return.”
  • Notes: 1) Account creation is crucial, also add social input!
  • Collecting people to follow on Twitter, as well as collecting followers, provides tremendous value and is a key driver of what keeps Twitter users hooked
  • Notes: 1) Followers
  • Reputation Reputation is a form of stored value users can literally take to the bank.
  • Skill Investing time and effort into learning to use a product is a form of investment and stored value.
  • Notes: 1) Think photoshop
  • Users set future triggers during the investment phase, providing companies with an opportunity to reengage the user. We will now explore a few examples of how companies have helped load the next trigger during the investment phase.
  • Notes: 1) The best kind of investment
  • The more users invest in a product through tiny bits of work, the more valuable the product becomes in their lives and the less they question its use.
    • DO THIS NOW   Refer to the answers you came up with in the last “Do This Now” section to complete the following exercises: Review your flow. What “bit of work” are your users doing to increase their likelihood of returning? Brainstorm three ways to add small investments into your product to: Load the next trigger. Store value as data, content, followers, reputation, and skill. Identify how long it takes for a “loaded trigger” to reengage your users. How can you reduce the delay to shorten time spent cycling through the Hook?
  • Notes: 1) Ref
  • With the increasing pervasiveness and persuasiveness of personal technology, some industry insiders have proposed creating an ethical code of conduct.6 Others believe differently: Chris Nodder, author of the book Evil by Design, writes, “It’s OK to deceive people if it’s in their best interests, or if they’ve given implicit consent to be deceived as part of a persuasive strategy.”7
  • To use the Manipulation Matrix (figure 36), the maker needs to ask two questions. First, “Would I use the product myself?” and second, “Will the product help users materially improve their lives?”
  • For the first time though, companies have access to data that could be used to flag which users are using their products too much.
  • Peddlers tend to lack the empathy and insights needed to create something users truly want.
  • Building an enterprise on ephemeral desires is akin to running on an incessantly rolling treadmill: You have to keep up with the constantly changing demands of your users.
  • Creating a product that the designer does not believe improves users’ lives and that he himself would not use is called exploitation.
  • The Hook Model is a framework based on human psychology and a close examination of today’s most successful habit-forming products.
  • Once you know how often users should use your product, dig into the numbers to identify how many and which type of users meet this threshold.
  • Let’s say that you’ve identified a few users who meet the criteria of habitual users. Yet how many such users are enough? My rule of thumb is 5 percent. Though your rate of active users will need to be much higher to sustain your business, this is a good initial benchmark.
  • Users will interact with your product in slightly different ways. Even if you have a standard user flow, the way users engage with your product creates a unique fingerprint. Where users are coming from, decisions made when registering, and the number of friends using the service are just a few of the behaviors that help create a recognizable pattern. Sift through the data to determine if similarities emerge.
  • For example, in its early days, Twitter discovered that once new users followed thirty other members, they hit a tipping point that dramatically increased the odds they would keep using the site.
  • Notes: 1) Ref
  • Armed with new insights, it is time to revisit your product and identify ways to nudge new users down the same Habit Path taken by devotees.